MTN-Qhubeka replaces Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at il Lombardia
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

MTN-Qhubeka replaces Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at il Lombardia

by Ben Atkins at 9:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia
Milano-Sanremo winning team steps into spot vacated after Giro positives

gerald ciolekMTN-Qhubeka has been awarded the wildcard invitation to September’s il Lombardia that was recently handed back by Vini Fantini-Selle Italia, race organiser RCS Sport has announced. This will be the first appearance in the “Race of the Falling Leaves” for the South African team, which will be the first from the continent of Africa to ride.

Vini Fantini-Selle Italia handed back its invitation to the race earlier this month, citing “respect” for RCS Sport following the “embarrassment” of the EPO positives returned by both Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Santambrogio at the Giro d’Italia. The giallo flou team was invited to all of RCS Sport’s races this season, but may find itself less fortunate in 2014.

MTN-Qhubeka rode Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo for the first time this season, with German sprinter Gerald Ciolek making history with a surprise victory in the latter. The team was not one of the four lucky ones to make it to the Giro d’Italia, with Colombia taking the only non-Italian invite.

"We're very excited to line up for another RCS WorldTour event,” MTN-Qhubeka press officer Xylon van Eyck told VeloNation. “This will be the first time after the Milan-Sanremo victory. We'll be taking the best possible team to the race to repay the organisers for the faith shown in us once again.

“With the race happening in October, it provides an opportunity for us to finish off our debut year as a Pro Continental team well and against the best teams in the world,” he added.

In addition to announcing the replacement team, RCS Sport also confirms that the route of the race, which returns to October this season after its September 29th date in 2012, will once again feature the climbs of the super-steep Muro di Sormano, the iconic Ghisallo, and the Villa Vergano before descending to finish in the lakeside city of Lecco for the third straight year.

Il Lombardia (WT), October 6th

Invited Teams

UCI ProTeams (invited by right, and required to attend)
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale (Ita)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
FDJ (Fra)
Blanco Pro Cycling (Ned)
Garmin-Sharp (USA)
Katusha Team (Rus)
Lampre-Merida (Ita)
Lotto-Belisol (Bel)
Movistar Team (Spa)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step Team (Bel)
Orica-GreenEdge (Aus)
RadioShack-Nissan (Lux)
Sky Procycling (GBr)
Team Argos-Shimano (Ned)
Team Saxo-Tinkoff (Den)
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)

Professional Continental Teams (Wildcards)
Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela (Ita)
Colombia (Col)
IAM Cycling (Swi)
MTN-Qhubeka (RSA)
Team Europcar (Fra)
Team NetApp-Endura (Ger)


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